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Website information on colon cancer too complex, fails to address key concerns
Date:4/14/2014

DALLAS April 14, 2014 Popular web information on colorectal cancer is too difficult for most lay people to read and doesn't address the appropriate risks to and concerns of patients, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center gastroenterologists suggests.

In a review of a dozen popular websites, most of the online patient education materials for colorectal cancer screening were written beyond the recommended sixth-grade reading level, while content on the sites failed to address key risks, as well as the barriers to and benefits of screening, according to the study's authors Dr. Deepak Agrawal, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Chenlu Tian, an Internal Medicine fellow.

"Today, the Internet often is the first point of contact between the patient and health-related information, even for patients with low literacy. In, thus, is a great opportunity for us to influence the decisions people make about their health and to steer them in the right direction. Informing patients is a physician's responsibility and we take this role seriously," said Dr. Agrawal, senior author and gastroenterologist in the division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at UT Southwestern. The study, which appears in the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and was conducted along with researchers from UT Arlington, is the first to analyze the appropriateness of internet-based materials in terms of health literacy.

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, despite effective screening tests, including the fecal occult blood test (FOBT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Developing more appropriate and targeted patient educ
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Contact: Russell Rian
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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